Since the introduction of microalgae as superfoods, there has been always a debate regarding chlorella vs. spirulina. Both these types of algae are healthy and have minor differences. This article provides the differences between the two.
Chlorella and spirulina are used popularly as dietary supplements. Various studies and researches have been done regarding the intervention of microalgae as foods since a long time ago. And, it is found that chlorella and spirulina have potential health benefits, in terms of their protein and antioxidant content. Thus, with an objective of formulating nutritional supplements, these two algae are being harvested in artificial ponds on a large scale.
Nearly everyone of us agree that both of these are healthy supplements for all people, irrespective of the age group and gender, except that the recommended amount may vary for different age groups and body structure. It is also opined that these superfood types are the best options for vegetarian people, as they will get sufficient amount of proteins that they may lack in their diet.
There is nothing much to say about the differences between them. Both these algae have shown positive healing effects and are available commercially in the form of powder and tablets. In fact, the distinguishing features between them are in terms of taxonomy, structure, and nutritional value, which are discussed below:
Chlorella is a green alga, belonging to the division Chlorophyta. It is eukaryotic and unicellular, which synthesizes its food by the process of photosynthesis. In brief, it is a more advanced form, as compared to spirulina. Whereas, spirulina is a spiral-shaped blue green algae (BGA), belonging to the division Cyanophyta. It is prokaryotic in cell organization, but possesses chlorophyll for photosynthesis.
The dried form of chlorella consists of more than 40 percent protein, 20 percent each of carbohydrates and fats, and 10 percent vitamins and minerals. Whereas, the protein content in dried spirulina is more than that of chlorella, accounting to about 55-77 percent. And the protein content of spirulina is superior to other plant and animal-based proteins. Other than proteins, it is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
As per experiments on rats, chlorella is found to have anticancer properties. In another study on rats, its extract promotes vascular function. However, further studies should be done to prove whether it has the same effect on humans or not. On the other hand, animal tests conducted with spirulina have shown that it is effective for combating heart damage and stroke complications. Also, in humans, it is useful for treating malnutrition symptoms and helps in gaining weight.
The dose of chlorella and spirulina for a healthy individual is 3-5 grams per day. However, some health experts are of the opinion that an adult should take chlorella and spirulina in 1:2 ratio to remain fit and healthy. For example, if you are taking 3 grams chlorella, you need to take 6 grams spirulina and vice versa. Nevertheless, the appropriate dosage may vary from one person to another, based on the approach for which the supplements are being taken.
Prior to consuming any of these supplements, one should analyze their health benefits and side effects. Overall, the confusion on which one is a better superfood, either chlorella or spirulina is very difficult to decide. Rather, we can conclude that both are beneficial and should be included in our daily diet plan.
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